Monday, January 23, 2012

The Trouble With Being Photogenic (and Vain)

Do you remember that shampoo commercial from the '80s where some supermodel throatily whispered, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" as she swung her hair around seductively and fluttered her lashes like a baby calf?

Well, there's no need to hate me because I am NOT beautiful: sort of cute in a chunky sort of way maybe, but not even close to beautiful.  (My mother nailed it when she said I had "dirty dishwater hair" and a "Howdy Doody" smile.)

The trouble with being photogenic is that when people actually see me non-virtually, they often ask me, “Are you feeling sick?  You don’t look well.”  When I meet people whom I’ve never met, the comment usually goes something along the lines of, “Oh, I didn’t recognize you.  I was looking for someone prettier.”  Of course, I invariably end up feeling disappointed in the real-me who just can’t compete with the photographed me.

I’m sure many of you are as guilty as I am (especially if you are of the female, vain bent) of only posting flattering pictures on Facebook and quickly deleting any pictures you’ve been tagged in that expose anything in the way of a double chin (“little dab o’ whipping cream,” as Don calls it), flabby bingo arms, or pudgy knees. 

Do any of you remember the time Oprah showed herself without makeup in her magazine?  She did a whole photo shoot of the “real” her  and then the army of people it took to get her talk-show ready.  Well, I would NEVER put a picture of myself in my own magazine (Are there, like, three people in the whole world who actually have their OWN magazine?) that wasn’t flattering, and I would surely avail myself of all the help I could get to turn myself into the “Oscarized” version of myself for every public appearance or photo shoot I ever had.  I guess that’s one of the benefits of not being famous.  Imagine bearing the scrutiny of the “What Were They Thinking?” section of US Weekly.  It’s a good thing I don't qualify to be considered.

It’s also a good thing I am happily married and my sweetie likes me just the way I am.  If I ever have to get out on the market again (god forbid), I’ve got enough of a collection of cutie-patootie pics that I could post on (many from my 20s) to get my share of hits, but then I’d receive a lot of quick reverse skid-outs out of parking lots when my prospective paramours laid eyes on me.

I think what I’m getting at is the same thing I was talking about a few days ago in the blog when I said something along the lines of, “Nobody is actually thinking about you except yourself.”  I mean, I hate to disappoint any of you when we meet by being a whole lot less pretty (or skinny) than I appear in my pictures, but chances are you either don’t give a flying flip or you get a quick hit of positive energy about yourself, thinking, “She’s not so cute.  I look a whole lot better for my age.”  Well, you’re welcome.  Anything I can do to help you feel better about yourself.

Meantime, my goals are to:

Spend less time thinking (or writing) about this superficial nonsense

Take a break from the fashion mags from a while so I can step away from the pressure of thinking, as a 46-year-old female, I should be looking like an Amazon supermodel

Sign up for my next eyelash extension from Groupon

Figure out how to use Photoshop 

Though I'm not a stunner, you're crazy if you think I'm going to (ever) post an ugly pic of myself!


  1. Seriously Leah?

    Okay, this is me being sincere and honest. You have amazing eyes that make your whole face glow. You have a beauty that is not shallow or superficial, but your light, your spirit, and vitality shine through (no, I'm not coming on to you). Your type of beauty is enduring, by anyone's standards, and obvious to people who meet you.

    So please...I would pick your type of beauty over most female celebraties or models any day.

  2. Thank you so much, Pat. You're sweet to say so and being the vain thing that I am, I DO appreciate it! I just read something on fb this morning about not moaning about growing older because it is a privilege many are not afforded. When I look in the mirror these days (especially those damn magnifying mirrors!), I cannot believe what is happening to my skin, but it's all meant to be. I like it that in Asia age is respected. I'm going to stay here!

    I'm so delighted that you're enjoying the blog! Please keep commenting and following. You're one of my first fans. Want to come on my talk show when that manifests itself? You can be one of my first guests!